Dangerous Witness, Love Ridiculous

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Genesis 13; Matthew 12; Nehemiah 2; Acts 12

Summer Sunny Forest Trees And Green Grass. Nature Wood Sunlight

Often when I read God’s living word, I find myself stopping to say something of the sort “Wait, what’s that all about?” Today’s reading started off this way.

Unto the place of the altar, which he had make there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. -Genesis 13:4

This phrase ‘called on the name of the Lord’ confused me. I thought to myself “that is an interesting way to say Abram worshiped the Lord. What does an old testament sacrifice have to do with God’s Name?” Seeking for answers, I looked for the phrase throughout the Bible. I found it used in several places throughout the Bible, old and new testament, such as; Gen 4:26Gen 13:4, 1 Ki 18:24, 2Ki 5:11, Joe 2:32, Ac 2:21, Ac 22:16To me, it became more clear what this meant with each of the old testament occurrences but none more than in the prophecy of Joel and then later in Acts.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered:… -Joel 2:32

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16

I also looked in to the individual words used, which helped me better understand the phrase. The root word for ‘called’, as in Abram called on the Name of the Lord is קרא, which I learned can be used in several different forms. In the form it is used here, it is also used throughout chapter one of Genesis when God is naming his creation: ‘calling the light day’ and so on. Interesting. So not necessarily called as in; Tom called on Jane, but more; Tom called Jane beautiful. Put another way, calling something what it is. 

This phrase ‘calling on the name of the Lord’, in my estimation then, is a proclamation of faith that God is who He reveals Himself to be. Put another way, announcing officially or publicly “God is who He says He is! Jesus is the Christ! I profess my dependence on Him and commit to follow Him.” Perhaps not that specifically, but you get the idea.

Another interesting revelation from this study is that this proclamation of faith is consistent term, if you will, of all the covenants that God graciously enters into with His undeserving people throughout the Bible. Throughout the covenants we are called to be His witnesses.

In the old testament making sacrifices and observing special holidays was a way to be different from the other people of the earth and in so doing the others could see from afar that these people we’re proclaiming God’s Name. Imagine an animal being sacrificed. Such an act would not go unnoticed by the neighbors. It would be loud. The smell, far reaching. Like unto it, many of the rhythms of holiday observances and pilgrimages, people about would take notice; ‘There go God’s people.’ As we adhere to the covenants we proclaim God’s name.

Today, Jesus tells us that love will be the signal to all the world that we are His disciples.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. -John 13:35

Trying to think on why love is the way to proclaim God’s name in the new covenant may be another study entirely. Perhaps receiving the Spirit was the only way we would be capable of sending such a signal? Acts 1:8

I feel this understanding has presented me a most precious opportunity to consider a question. Can the way I live, the way I love, go unnoticed by the neighbors? When I love does it point straight to God? Does it proclaim His name? God help me. 

The vision statement at Eastview names me a dangerous witnesses who has love ridiculous. Perhaps the kind of love that can not go unnoticed? Perhaps the kind of love that is so unself, so supernatural, it can only become through the power of the Spirit? God would you accept my life as a living sacrifice? God would you help me take up my cross daily and focus on things eternal, letting go of the temporal? God would you turn my heart towards Your statues and not toward selfish gain? 

Further reading from past studies:

The Great Flood

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s Reading: Genesis 6; Matthew 6; Ezra 6; Acts 6

The Great Flood

The Flood has been a great source of questions for me but none more than why. Why would God do this? From today’s reading, recent studies, and a most interesting lesson from a good friend; I think perhaps another piece as to why this happened, has fallen into place for me. Along a journey that starts in the Garden of Eden and ends in Revelation I think some clues are provided as to why.

Our journey starts where the conflict started, in the Garden of Eden. Satan has tossed in a wrench of deception in God’s perfect creation which led to the fall of man. God is allotting the punishment for the tragic episode and it is the serpent’s turn:  

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. -Genesis 3:15

Interesting. So the seed of the woman will bruise the head of satan. 

Similar to how satan attempts to foil God’s design in the Garden of Eden we see again satan’s attempt to thwart God’s judgement three chapters latter in the prolog to the story of the Flood. If the seed of the woman were to bruise the serpent’s head, is it possible that he would attempt corrupt her offspring to cut off God’s planned judgement from the source?

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.Genesis 6:1–3

From my research the majority of Bible Scholars seem to hold that the term here ‘sons of God’ is in reference to angels. If anyone will ever know for certain I am not quite sure. Whether it was satan and his angels who laid with the daughters of Eve, Cain’s line intermarrying with Adam’s new seed (Gen 4:25) which was Seth’s line, or something else happened here, the result is certain and clear; a corruption of the generations or otherwise put; a corruption of the offspring. 

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. -Genesis 6:5

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. -Genesis 6:11–12

But lo, there was still one who was “perfect in his generations.” A remnant from which God would replenish the earth.

These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. -Genesis 6:9

By replenishing the earth through Noah is it possible that God was purifying the world from satan’s attempt to save himself from God’s judgement? Was it perhaps satan’s plan to corrupt all of mankind to save himself? 

I mentioned earlier that the story continues through Revelation. We know now that the seed of the woman is Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior. We have seen the cosmic battle between God and satan continue throughout the Bible so that God can bring this Seed forth to save us. Indeed, though the battle is won, it appears to still rage to this day. That satan would deceive. That many may not know the battle even happened. May the truth prevail. 

I think Revelation 12 depicts the cosmic battle on a sort of spiritual realm. Perhaps a realm where time happens all at once. Certainly a realm I have had difficulty understanding. I encourage you to consider reading it with this battle in mind. It has always made for an interesting Christmas eve story in our home.

God, amidst the holiday season I am reminded I am Yours by purchase. Thank You for paying the price to save me even though the cost was so great. I do not deserve to be purchased LORD. Amen.